Wednesday, January 30, 2008

There are facts, numbers and then statistics .....

..... the big question, as always, is whose numbers and statistics do you trust?

This article from Sustainable Development International (seemingly taken from The Guardian) highlights a typical example of just such a possible distortion of figures and statistics. Vegans have long claimed that 18% of CO2 emissions are a direct consequence of meat production (that's more, supposedly, than some calculate is the total output of the entire transport sector) - this report appears to debunk that statistic as incorrect.

"a Food Climate Research Network report concluded that UK meat and dairy consumption was responsible for 8% of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions. This is still a worrying amount, but considerably less than the 18% claimed by the green and vegan movement. It is also far less than the UK's transport emissions, which, according to the Department for Transport, represent around 33% of all our greenhouse emissions, if aviation is included."

As ever, statistics appear to be getting massaged/manipulated/falsified (delete whichever you feel relevant) to suit one particular side of the argument. I'm finding it all totally confusing. Just who do you believe?

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